Friday, 13 November 2009

Português próxima

I've just finished reading Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier, which I really enjoyed. Essentially a story of a teacher of ancient languages voyage of self-discovery triggered by a chance meeting with an unnamed Portuguese woman it was very enjoyable and thought provoking, putting me in mind of Sophie's World (though without the massive plot twist). The book is littered with quotations and phrases in Portuguese, which I was very pleasantly surprised to find I mostly understood - most of the nouns are similar to their Spanish counterparts, while the verbs and articles follow the same rules as other Romance languages. Pronunciation is the major difference. Anyway, I think I'll make a start learning Portuguese next. When I've finally mastered Spanish of course. So 2020 then.

Actually I'm feeling more and more confident about Spanish. I still litter my conversation with mistakes, but I'm generally understood and I usually understand. As we've been negotiating our unborn child's process through Madrid's health service we've both been called upon to engage with Spanish with a greater frequency than before, while hanging out with some of my former students (who have a lower level of English than our Pueblo Ingles friends) has meant we socialise more and more in the language. We've also been going along to free lessons at International House again - really these are training classes for new Spanish teachers, but the need guinea pigs, so we get them free. We've made some good friends among some of the regular attendees, although why there aren't more people taking advantage of them I don't know; often there's been just 3 of us in a class. Still, it means we get loads of attention.

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